Kiddieland

We made our annual family trip to Kiddieland today. We had planned to go on Wednesday, but discovered that they had closed for the workweek on August 23. We’ve gone the past two years in August as well, sweltering in the heat and sun. Located just outside of Chicago at North and 1st Avenues in Melrose Park, Kiddieland is a small amusement park catering to the 4-8-year-old set. Most of the rides are designed for kids under 48″, but there are a fair number that are for older kids and adults.

The park now offers e-tickets, so I bought our tickets online this morning. Ticket prices have increased to $23 for kids over 6 and adults, and $20 for kids 3-6 and seniors. When we arrived, we bypassed the out-to-the-edge-of-the-parking-lot line and went straight into the park at 11 a.m. The Boy wanted to go on the Kiddieland Unlimited first, but it wasn’t working properly. I don’t know whether it was because it was the end of the season or just coincidence, but “out of order” seemed to be a loose theme for the day. Later, I stood in line for 20 minutes to get a slushie only to learn when I got to the window that the machine was broken. And there was no soap for handwashing in the bathrooms.

The Boy has been begging to go to Kiddieland all summer. He was in heaven when today finally arrived. He and The Dad paired off for much of our visit, going on rides for which The Girl and The Tot were still too little (or too scared): Log Jammer, Scooters, Dip-N-Drop (roller coaster). In addition to these, he enjoyed the Kiddieland Unlimited, Roto-Whip, the pump-your-own-train-car in the Volcano Playcenter, and the Raceabouts. I also took him on the Scooters, which was really fun — the bumper cars were my childhood favorite ride — we had great fun ramming into people around us.

Unlike his older sister when we visited the park in 2006, The Tot only tolerated some of the rides and downright disliked others. He seemed to do OK by himself on the tiny racecar (“Midge-O-Racer”) ride and was fine in the Kiddieland Unlimited and carousel with me. The highlights of the trip for him were a bucket of popcorn and a Popsicle Cherry Calypso cup.

The Girl’s favorite rides this year were pretty much the same as they were on our first visit: the Roto-Whip, Little Autos, Dune Buggies, and the Raceabouts. She also rode the carousel, train, swings, and did the hand-cars once (and then got upset when the guide wouldn’t let her go around again because she had had to push The Girl most of the way around the track). Unlike in previous years, she did not want to ride the flying elephants. She was frustrated by being just barely too short for many of the rides, especially since The Boy was finally tall enough to ride them. The Dad and I took turns taking her on the Raceabouts, which she really seemed to enjoy.

For some reason, I overestimate the food every year. My stomach always hurts after an afternoon at Kiddieland — all that corn syrup, grease,and red dye — although I managed to skip the Pepsi products this year. Instead, to stay hydrated in the 90-degree heat, we filled and refilled our 3 SIGG bottles with water. Maybe next year I’ll employ my brain and pack a cooler lunch to eat in the car.

Other tips from this year: Because it was so loud, The Dad and I mostly communicated via text messages while we were separated. We brought in our wagon, but it was unwieldly and the only person who really wanted to ride was The Tot, so we swapped it out for our stroller and everyone was just as happy — especially The Tot, who later fell asleep in it.

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